Before prescribing antibiotics for children, doctors ask if the child has any known drug allergies. It is not uncommon in this situation for parents to mention their own history of drug allergy. A doctor’s standard response is to reassure parents that their child is unlikely to be allergic to a medication just because they are.

I have had two experiences that illustrate an important twist to this scenario. In each case, I put a child on amoxicillin despite the parent’s history of amoxicillin allergy. Both parents inadvertently licked their fingers after giving the medicine to their children. One parent developed an itchy rash that responded to Benadryl. The other parent developed hives that required a trip to the emergency room.

The lesson here is obvious—while it is routine practice to administer medications to children regardless of their parent’s allergy history, be sure that you do not inadvertently ingest the drug yourself.